Japanese Pachinko Operators Looking To Revive Classic Game
Japan’s recent attempts to pass legislation to legalize gambling before the 2020 Osaka Olympic Games has focused the spotlight on this nation’s passion for gambling. One of the most popular games is that of pachinko which began as a children’s toy in the 1920’s and gained huge popularity in WWII.
Pachinko is essentially a modified form of pinball and it is a national obsession in Japan with over 12,000 parlors countrywide. It is estimated that one in thirteen Japanese play pachinko.
Like so many other forms of gambling the pachinko industry is having to adapt to the key consumer groups in order to compete with casinos. They are moving towards mobile and focusing on modernizing the game to fit in with the younger generation.
In an effort to accomplish this they have built new airy and spacious parlors which are aimed at attracting the younger generation. With over $185 m wagered annually the current machines in Pachinko parlors reflect modern culture and include themes from Hollywood and pop idols.
One of the main reasons for pachinko revenues falling in the last few years is the aging population of Japan. Leisure spending in the last 20 years has fallen by almost a third. Pachinko could face competition if or should we say when the first casino licenses are issued in Japan. The status of pachinko currently is grey as it is not defined as gambling and is legally considered as a form of amusement. The latest strategy to modernize and attract the younger generation could well revive the declining fortunes of this traditional Japanese pastime.